Dr. Kirsten de Beurs has a background in remote sensing research with a strong understanding of the effect of institutional changes on the land surface, in particular in dryland regions. She has a Masters degree from the Wageningen University in the Netherlands focused on biometry and a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Since the start of her Ph.D. in 2002 she has worked on several NASA-funded projects. For her Ph.D. she investigated the effects of the collapse of the Soviet Union on land surface changes, first in Kazakhstan and subsequently in other Central Asian states. During her first post-doc she investigated the effects of war and drought in Afghanistan, and researched changes in the central Eurasian grain bel. During her second post-doc she was part of a project investigating the effect of gypsy moth defoliation in Mid-Atlantic forests. Since starting as an assistant professor first at Virginia Tech in August 2007, and then at The University of Oklahoma, she has extended her research to agricultural drylands in the Sahel as well as agricultural regions in European Russia. She is an author on 25 manuscripts and PI on a large NASA Land Cover Land Use Change project investigating land abandonment in Russia and climate change: “Land Abandonment in Russia: Understanding Recent Trends and Assessing Future Vulnerability and Adaptation to Changing Climate and Population Dynamics”. She currently advises four PhD and one MSc student.
Dr. Jason Julian is an Environmental Geographer and Earth Systems Scientist who investigates landscape changes and ecosystem processes across broad scales, with a focus on water resources and human-environment interactions. He is a Fulbright Senior Scholar (New Zealand) and co-Director of the Landscape Land Use Change Institute. His formal training is in Geomorphology, Hydrology, and Landscape Ecology. Past projects have included land cover effects on watershed runoff, downstream effects of dams and dam removal, modeling light availability and primary production in rivers, headwater channel mapping, riverbank erosion, agricultural impacts on river ecosystems, bio-geomorphic feedbacks in rivers, and historical urban development trends in South-Central U.S. Currently funded projects include “Land Management Impacts on Water Quality in New Zealand across Political Boundaries” and “Incorporating Ecological Costs and Benefits into Environmental Flow Recommendations for Oklahoma Rivers.” Future work will likely involve analyzing land use/land cover changes and their impact on natural resources across broad scales. Dr. Julian is now an Associate Professor at Texas State University, where he teaches courses on Water Resources. In his spare time, Jason enjoys outdoor activities with his family, including hiking, kayaking, and tennis. He is also an avid traveler, witnessing how humans are transforming landscapes but also taking great pleasure in seeing the natural wonders of the world.
Dr. Koch received her Ph.D. in Environmental Systems Engineering from the University of Kassel, Germany, where she developed an application of the LandSHIFT land-use and land-cover change model for the Jordan River region. Dr. Koch also holds a Diplom (Univ.) in Geoecology from the University of Bayreuth, Germany, where she studied ecological modeling and agricultural ecology. Before joining the University of Oklahoma, she was involved in several interdisciplinary research projects such as the Forest, People, Fire project, which focused on interactions, dynamics and adaptation in fire-prone landscapes of the eastern Cascades of Oregon or the GLOWA Jordan River project, which provided scientific support for sustainable water management in the Jordan River region. Dr. Koch’s primary research interest is in the development of integrated approaches for modeling and analysis of coupled human-natural systems with applications for natural resource management, conservation planning, and sustainability solutions. For this purpose, she applies a set of different approaches such as integrated environmental simulation models (agent-based, cellular automata, system dynamics, process-based), modeling of land-use changes on various spatial scales, participatory modeling and scenario development, and alternative futures analysis. Dr. Koch is also involved in the Oklahoma NSF EPSCoR project, were she works on spatially explicit, integrated modeling of land-use and land cover change in Oklahoma under climate variability and change.
Dr. Todd Fagin is a geographer, biogeographer, and landscape ecologist whose interests range from mapping individual occurrences of a species to historical landscape reconstructions. Dr. Fagin currently holds a split appointment at the University of Oklahoma, serving as both an instructor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability and post-doctoral fellow at the Oklahoma Biological Survey. Current research projects include the development of a new statewide land cover dataset for Oklahoma; geostatistical approaches to mapping Public Land Survey witness tree data; resiliency, vulnerability, and land use/land cover change in the southern Great Plains; management history and land use practices in the National Grasslands; development of a protected areas database for the state of Oklahoma; and approaches to GIS education. Other areas of interest include species distribution modeling, vegetation classification standards, historical and contemporary vegetation mapping and analysis, land use/land cover change, and all things GIS. Prior to returning to his alma mater, Dr. Fagin served two years as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at Oklahoma State University and worked as a GIS consultant in the private sector. In addition to teaching several classes at the University of Oklahoma and managing a database of Oklahoma’s rare species, he serves as an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City Community College, teaching several GIS-related classes.